Sergey Sirotkin was quickest in the first Free Practice session of the Valencia Auto GP weekend. The Russian driver, who was already second in yesterday’s test, showed again how quick he can be leading the field by a full 2 tenths with a 1’24”522. While the times of this first practice don’t tell a lot on the drivers’ potential as everybody was lapping on used tyres with different mileages, Sergey’s achievement is still impressive, especially considering that just a few minutes before he was lapping the track in an F3 car: that’s because Sirotkin is taking part also in the Italian F3 championship, that is part of the support races package in Valencia. With a busy weekend that will see him contest seven sessions and five races, Sergey is not scared at all and was really happy after the practice: “I thought jumping from the F3 to the Auto GP car would have been more difficult but my feeling with the Auto GP Lola is really good, so turning back to the right reference points on the track was easy”.
Supernova International’s Victor Guerin was second, again confirming his great feeling with both the car and the Valencia track: the Brazilian closed the session with a 1’24”762 that was six tenths quicker than third placed Daniel de Jong. The Dutchman of MP Motorsport was among the top runners for the whole session and ended ahead of Pål Varhaug, much happier with his performance than yesterday: “Yesterday I wasn’t as focused as I should have been. I ended overdriving a bit, and that’s something you don’t want in Valencia because it’s just one bend after the other, and a mistake usually ruins more than one corner. Today was much better, I was really focused and in line with the track’s rhythm, so it was fine”.Sergio Campana was fifth with the quickest MLR71 entry (1’25”687), with a good progression compared to yesterday that allowed him to preceed Antonio Spavone: Euronova’s Italian youngster was quick and confident that there’s more to come: “I was still keeping a margin in this first session and our tyres were very used, so surely there’s room for improvement. The car is not easy here, very physical to drive, but I have a good feeling especially after some changes my team did halfway through the session”.
Yesterday’s leader Adrian Quaife-Hobbs was seventh with a 1’25”724, just 0.02 quicker than Facu Regalia, the first placed driver of home team Campos Racing. Chris Van der Drift got P9 ahead of newcomer Sten Pentus, who closed the top 10. Valencia, Free Practice 1, 30 March 20121 Sergey SIROTKIN Euronova Racing 1:24.522 2 Victor GUERIN Super Nova International 1:24.762 3 Daniel DE JONG Manor MP Motorsport 1:25.399 4 Pal VARHAUG Virtuosi UK 1:25.415 5 Sergio CAMPANA MLR 71 1:25.687 6 Antonio SPAVONE Euronova Racing 1:25.692 7 Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS Super Nova International 1:25.724 8 Facu REGALIA Campos Racing 1:25.745 9 Chris VAN DER DRIFT Manor MP Motorsport 1:25.849 10 Sten PENTUS Virtuosi UK 1:26.015 11 Giuseppe CIPRIANI Campos Racing 1:26.181 12 Max SNEGIREV Campos Racing 1:26.304 13 Yann CUNHA Ombra Racing 1:26.393 14 Matteo BERETTA Zele Racing 1:26.581 15 Giancarlo SERENELLI Ombra Racing 1:26.750 16 Michele LA ROSA MLR 71 1:28.981 17 Peter MILAVEC Zele Racing 1:33.503